TrueDelta recently updated the stats from its Car Reliability Survey to include all of 2012. Unless the car in question is a 2010 model (covered by J.D. Power’s VDS), statistics that indicate how it has been holding up since last April aren’t available anywhere else. Put another way, we’re currently eight months ahead of the folks with the new auto issue.
Among fairly new cars, so few received red “sad faces” (for an especially high reported repair frequency) this time around that we can cover them all here.
2013 – Ford Escape
2012 – None
2011 – None
2010 – Jaguar XF, Mercedes GLK, Hyundai Genesis, GM large crossovers, Ford Taurus
2009 – Cadillac CTS, Jaguar XF, Ford Flex
2008 – GM large crossovers, BMW 335i
2007 – Nissan Murano
Even among the cars in this bunch, none averaged over one repair trip per car last year, and most didn’t come close. Granted, the stats cover 60 to 70 models per year, not all of them. This list would be longer if we had more responses for certain Europeans. If four more owners of the 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class had reported in, its stat would have been well over 100 repair trips per 100 cars. If you’re concerned about reliability (not everyone is), you don’t want one of these.
Many reported problems are minor–for any of our stats you can click a link to view the repairs behind it. The 2013 Ford Escape is in the “dirty dozen” because of common problems with door and hatch alignments. The 2010 Ford Taurus makes this list because, even after three years of replacements, the chrome trim keeps peeling off the tail lights of enough cars. Some owners have had the assemblies replaced three or four times.
The 2010 Hyundai Genesis has had moderately serious problems with its fuel pump (V8 engine), plus the power tilt adjuster for the steering column and the power seat controls. To avoid a sad face with the 2009 CTS, skip the sunroof. The 2007 Nissan Murano commonly has problems with its front suspension (as does the 2006).
We could move the goalposts to force more models into the sad group, but we don’t want to put a sad face on cars whose owners are usually quite happy. For 2011 and newer cars, the dividing lines between a green :) and a yellow :| is around 30 repair trips per 100 cars per year, while that between a yellow :| and a red :( is about 60 repair trips per 100 cars per year. Most newish cars are under 30 per 100, and consequently get happy green faces next to their scores.
At the other end of the scale, we have some models for which absolutely no repairs were reported last year.
2013 – Audi A4 et al. (29 cars)
2012 – Honda CR-V (58 cars), Subaru Forester (33), Toyota Prius c (30)
2010 – Lexus RX (30 cars)
The 2013 Audi isn’t a fluke–both the 2011 and 2012 also have been faring well, with scores in the 20s.
Some other models came close to perfect records. If one more 2012 Rogue owner had responded and reported no repairs, the Nissan would be in this group. Only a single repair was reported for the 2013 Focus, 2012 C-Class, 2012 LEAF, 2012 Prius, 2012 Sienna, 2011 GM large SUVs, 2010 Corolla, 2009 Rogue, and 2008 IS.
Among notable new models, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 barely retained its happy face despite multiple reports of fluttering hoods, vibrating mirrors, and rattling instrument panels. [Update: One late report of a vibrating mirror has pushed it over the edge.] The 2013 Toyobaru FRZ and 2012 FIAT 500 are deep in the yellow. The former has common problems with a chirping fuel pump and tail lamp condensation, while the latter has common problems with defective manifold bolts that cause oil leaks and an iffy Bluetooth module.
A single problem that affects most cars will mean the difference between a great score and a bad one, not only with this car reliability survey but with any of them. TrueDelta’s stats suggest manufacturers are doing a very good job of catching and fixing problems before they can become common. With a different reporting system that forced a certain percentage of cars to have bad scores, this would be less obvious.
TrueDelta will update its car reliability stats again in May. The more people participate, the more models we can cover and the more precise these stats will be.
To view the stats for a particular model, and the specific repairs behind the stats:
Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta.com, which covers car reliability, real-world fuel economy, feature-adjusted price comparisons, and why (not) reviews.